Aug 16, 2016
Aug 16, 2016

Twin Babies

Twin Babies

c. 1870

Davis Brothers


Salted paper print, hand-colored

Image: 24 x 19.2 cm (9 7/16 x 7 9/16 in.); Paper: 29.2 x 25 cm (11 1/2 x 9 13/16 in.)

Gift of Charles Isaacs and Carol Nigro 2003.302



Color photography was not widely available until the 20th century, but 19th-century photographs could be embellished with hand-applied paints or dyes for an extra charge. Hand coloring, often done by women, usually was limited to adding dabs of pink on lips and cheeks or gold on jewelry, but sometimes, as here, the entire surface would be covered to emulate a painting. The edges of this mount are covered with trial dabs of watercolor that would have been hidden by the mat. Once portraits leave the context of the family, the identities of the sitters are most often lost, as is the case for these twins. Since the Davis Brothers’ studio was in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, around this time, one can assume the twins lived there.

See also

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.